It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn the $278,730 Bentley Bentayga SUV has a terrific interior, but would you expect the same to be true of a Subaru Impreza? A Buick LaCrosse? Honda CR-V?
They’re three of the vehicles that were honored recently as WardsAuto celebrated the 10 best vehicle interiors in a conference at Cobo Center in Detroit.
“The Subaru Impreza [$29,260 as tested] and Honda CR-V [$34,635] are absolute benchmarks in their segments,” Wards Senior Editor Tom Murphy said.
The list is dominated by luxury brands and models — and yes, the $50,270 Buick Lacrosse WardsAuto editors evaluated probably qualifies as one — but mass-market brands and vehicles also are delivering outstanding interiors.
“We strive every year to compile a list that’s diverse and represents as many price points as possible,” Drew Winter, WardsAuto senior content director, said.
Here’s a look at the winners, along with highlights that impressed Wards and prices as tested:
Alfa Romeo Giulia, $50,490: Leather-covered dash and doors and satin finish wood give the aggressive sport sedan a “calm, soothing” presence. The infotainment screen is perfectly flush with the rest of the dash, “like they designed the whole instrument panel around it, unlike some companies where it seems to be an afterthought.”
Bentley Bentayga, $278,730: Ultra-luxury cars get updated less frequently than luxury and mass-market cars because it takes a longer lifecycle to pay off their development. That makes Bentley’s lavish new Bentayga SUV a rarity: a super-premium car with the latest electronics and driver assistance features. They’re all beautifully integrated into a sumptuous interior. “The burnt orange leather is breathtaking,” Murphy said.
Buick LaCrosse, $50,270: “The LaCrosse bowled us over in terms of its completeness as a package,” Murphy said. Wards testers also liked the well-integrated two-tier instrument panel and door trim, along with light neutral leather with dark brown accents and GM’s easy-to-use and intuitive infotainment system.
Honda CR-V, $34,635: America’s perennially best-selling SUV “achieves mass appeal without being dull.” Loads of passenger and luggage space impressed testers, as did bronze-colored trim and a large, useful center console.
Lexus LC 500, $102,995: Lexus’s new grand tourer has “the most artistically designed door trim I’ve ever seen,” along with premium materials like alcantara (fabric) on the pillars and headliner. “The exterior is dramatic, and the interior equally so,” Murphy said. “It creates a new brand image for Lexus.”
Lincoln Continental, $72,870: Lincoln’s new flagship sedan is “a breath of fresh air” among big luxury sedans thanks to laser-etched wood with sliver accents, user-friendly controls, exceptionally comfortable and widely adjustable seats, and Revel audio Wards said “will have drivers taking the long way home.”
Maserati Levante, $90,000: Maserati’s 404-horsepower luxury SUV has gone almost unnoticed since it went on sale last August, but the interior got Wards’ attention for its use of Chrysler’s excellent Uconnect infotainment system, rich brown leather with white contrast stitching. No Italian car ever made Wards’ 10 best before, but two of FCA’s luxury brands scored spots in 2018.
Mazda CX-9, $45,855: Mazda’s biggest vehicle seats seven in a versatile, comfortable and attractive interior. Details like textured dials and buttons, a rubber-lined bin just in front of the shifter and real aluminum and rosewood trim put the CX-9 on the list.
Mini Countryman, $38,450: Mini interiors have always been polarizing, but the new Countryman impressed Wards with its room and simplified infotainment controls. “It takes what made Mini great and just made it bigger,” Murphy said. Mini’s choice of unusually pale brown leather also drew praise.
Subaru Impreza $29,260: Subaru improved its controls and materials dramatically to win its first Wards interior award. “Anybody shopping for a compact is crazy if they don’t consider an Impreza,” Murphy said.
DETROIT FREE PRESS/TNS